Just 20 per cent of the UK’s commercial buildings are considered to be ‘smart’ at present. It’s likely that as this vast market grows, many building clients, such as architects, consultants and facilities managers, may not be ready for this technological revolution.
With this in mind, the ECA, CIBSE and SELECT launched a ‘connected technology’ survey for clients last year, to help understand the current state of play.
Overall, there were 229 responses to the survey over a three-week period in November and December, including responses from consultants, engineers, end clients and facilities managers.
|The survey show the UK lagging in knowledge of newer smart technology|
In terms of the technologies themselves, ‘CCTV and security’ was highlighted as the technology most likely to be installed in buildings in five years’ time (78 per cent of respondents). Heating (74 per cent), fire systems (69 per cent) and ‘Building Energy Management Systems’ (67 per cent) also featured prominently on the list.
The main reason why clients said that they would be willing to install connected technology at present is to ‘improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills’ (58 per cent said it was their top priority). However, with ‘CCTV and security’ the technology most likely to be installed over the next five years, there now appears to be a shift in attitudes towards prioritising safety and security.
In terms of the main barriers to installing connected technology in buildings, clients identified ‘the cost of installing it’ (82 per cent) as the main one, with ‘lack of clear advice / knowledge (55 per cent), and cyber security (49 per cent) also considered major factors.
Perhaps tellingly, almost four in 10 clients (39 per cent) said that they didn’t take any steps to protect smart installations against cyber threats. This is an area clients urgently need to address, especially when you consider the inherent risks in the modern day of not securing your business from hackers, and the anticipated growth in smart installations over the next five years.
Given recent technological advances, such as lighting controls and smart meters, there is actually a growing need for clients to take a proactive role in the design of their buildings and systems. This will allow them to have access to the data, and have the control they need, with an infrastructure to support it. Effectively, if clients have a comprehensive smart building solution designed and installed, this will allow for enhanced building monitoring and maintenance.
Alongside industry partners, including CIBSE and SELECT, the ECA will now be looking to establish how installers, engineers and clients can work together more effectively on developing the connected buildings of the present and future.